The English Landscape Painter, John Constable

The English Landscape Painter, John Constable



Among the most renowned landscape painters of the United Kingdom, other than Joseph Mallord William Turner, is John Constable.

It is without a doubt John Constable was one of the leading landscape painters of his time. The son of a miller, John Constable was born in 1776 in Suffolk, England, and his passion for painting led him to pursue it as a lifetime careerEven before paint tubes were invented, Constable was believed to have begun travelling around his countryside with his easel and canvas. Essentially, he is considered to be the pioneer and forerunner of the plein air, or outdoor, painting method, which was a major art form among the Impressionists. A passion for the English countryside is evident in his paintings. These paintings frequently depict scenes of rural life, the sky, and the meadows of Dedham Vale, which surrounds his hometown and is now known as Constable Country. "I should paint my own places best", he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821.

Fig. 1 The Cornfield,  John Constable 1826

Constable's most famous paintings include Wivenhoe Park, Dedham Vale and The Hay Wain. One of his famous painting, "The Cornfield" painted in 1826, captures the peaceful and idyllic scene of his hometown, Suffolk. This path that Constable painted was an actual place, called Fen lane that he used to walk along on his way to school. The boy in the painting was taken from his sketch of a boy at the same lane some 15 years earlier (The National Gallery, n.d.). Even though most of the painting was found to be conjured up, including the church beyond the distance, Constable's powerful mastery of composition and his iconic cloud depiction brought us closer to his countryside.

The term "skying" is used by John Constable to describe his extensive studies of clouds and skies in the English rural landscape. John Constable’s depictions of clouds, sky and light are particularly stunning and show his remarkable skill as a painter.

Although Constable's paintings have risen to a very high status as of today, he was never financially successful or considered on par with his counterpart, Turner during his time. Yet his legacy continues and has been a major influence on the development of the English landscape tradition. His paintings celebrated the beauty of the English countryside and served as a reminder of the importance of nature in our lives. He also inspired a generation of painters, who sought to capture the beauty of the outdoors in their paintings. John Constable's influence can still be seen today in the works of many landscape painters.

Keen to find out more on how John Constable paints?

At LACA, one of our main highlights of our oil painting program the imitation of masterpieces. Our instructor will bring students through a step-by-step process on how Constable paints and his choice of colour palette.

For more information, you can head on to the link below to find out more:



The National Gallery. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Vaughan, W. (03 May 2016). Tate British Artists: John Constable. London, United Kingdom: Tate Publishing.


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